Alexander The (not so) Great
When last we spoke, things in Yankeeland weren’t looking all that certain. Jorge Posada had just resigned for an absolutely outrageously overpaid price tag of 4 years, 52 million dollars.
A good signing considering Posada’s value to the team, and there aren’t many other catchers out there to be had. Just ask Omar Minaya.
Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in the history of the sport, was offered 3 years and 45 million dollars to continue and finish his career as a Yankee, yet felt disrepsetced by the fact he was no offered a 4th year, and has decided wait and see if the Yankees are willing to do so. (reports have since come out saying Rivera will accept the offer at 3 years).
So Posada was brought back, which filled one hole, and Rivera will in all likelyhood be following suit. However the one spot which may have been hardest to fill was third base. The guy who played there last season was pretty good, and you probably know who I’m talking about. No- its not Wilson Betemit. Its Alexander the Great of course. And with Alex opting out, who would be replacing him?
World Series MVP and Red Sox enemy Mike Lowell? Marlins young slugger Miguel Cabrera? Washed up Cards third basemen Scott Rolen? Sadly overpaid and underachieving Mariners hot corner guy Adrian Beltre?
Some appealing names, but none would have been able to fully replace the production that Alex gave them.
But then out of nowhere, as if divine intervention stepped in, Alex Rodriguez (supposedly at the advice of mega-billionaire Warren Buffet) went out of his way to contact the Yankees without his puppeteer of an agent, Scott Boras.
Now Scott Boras for those of you unfamiliar with the name, is the Ari Gold of baseball agents. He is shrewd and at times unethical, yet at the end of the day he gets his clients more money than they deserve while taking his own chunk of change along the way.
Boras is the agent who orchestrated the record breaking 10 year, $252 million A-Rod signed back in 2000 with the hapless Rangers. But Boras was up to his old tricks this year, deciding that even though Alex was playing in the World Series, he would still be part of it.
Before the Red Sox went on to win their 2nd championship in the last 4 years, Boras made it a point to announce to the free world that his superstar client would be opting out of the final 3 years of his deal, making him a free-agent, and giving up the 81 million dollars still owed to him in an effort to make more.
And upon making that decision, the Yankees came out and said that they would refuse to negotiate with Alex should he decide to opt out, and they seemed to stand pretty firm in that belief. The names were flying around as to who would be at third base next year, whlie the potential suitors for A-Rod were hard to find. The Angles, Dodgers, Mets and Giants seemed interested but coming up with the money to pay for King Alex was going to be tough.
Not having the Yankees as an option wasn’t going to help Alex get the 300+ million Boras was seeking for him. And so it seemed Alex would surely would be wearing a different uniform next season, without that interlocking NY.
But this is the New York Yankees, an organization that while they havn’t wont a championship since 2000, seems to always get lucky and always catch the right break at the right time. And this was no different. Alex Rodriguez, as you all know by now, will be calling the Bronx home beyond the next two Presidential terms.
And how did this happen? Because (reportedly) Alex Rodriguez went directly to Yankee management and requested the chance to talk about finishing his career as a Yankee.
And it worked. because 10 years and 275 million dollars later, Alex Rodriguez will surpass his own record contract by signing the most lucrative sports deal in history. And the best part?
Alex comes off looking like the hero. The Yankee fans not only get A-Rod back in Pinstripes, but they get him back because he made the effort. There was no pressuring by his agent and no strings being pulled over his head. This was all A-Rod.
Or was it?
Now this is entirely my opinion, but to think that Scott Boras, the most powerful man in baseball no associated with the sport itself, played no role in this is ludicrous. Boras may be a scum bag, but hes good at what he does. He knew the Yankees wanted no part of him when negotiating, so he stepped back when needed. He did what he had to- not only to get Alex the contract he was looking for, but he did so and made Alex come out looking the good guy!
Now from the point of the view of somebody not really interested in sports or baseball, there is still plenty of intrigue in all of this.
Here is a person, not yet 33 years of age, about sign a contract which will guarantee him a collection of over 250 million dollars- FOR THE SECOND TIME IN HIS CAREER. And what does he do? He plays a game. He happens to be very good at the game he plays, but when analyzing the game he plays, success is ultimately measured by the jewelry on your fingers, not the number of zeros on your paycheck.
So if thats the case, Alex Rodriguez is no more a success story in baseball than Rob Schneider is in acting. (Rob, for all his comedic talents, has yet to come close to sniffing an Acedemy Award nomination).
Yet here is Alex Rodriguez, who puts up terrific stats, whether it be home runs, runs batted in, strike outs with runners on third and less than 2 outs- take your pick. But the truth of the matter is, the man gets paid more than any other professional athlete has or ever will, despite the fact he has yet to achieve the ulitmate success sports has to offer.
However if you were Alex whether or not that bothers him, he would probably tell you how passionate he is about winning and trying to help his team get a World Series championship.
And if that isnt enough to convince you what his true intentions are, I’m sure there are others we just dont know about.
About 275 million of them.
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